There Are Lots of Iconic Serums Out There, But These 8 Hidden Gems Eclipse Them

With so many serums available to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones actually deserve your attention. There are the TikTok-viral serums that pop up on my For You page, the holy-grail serums recommended by derms, and the serums that are so popular they're basically famous (looking at you, SkinCeuticals C E Ferulic)

Just because a serum hasn't quite reached mainstream status yet doesn't mean you should discount it. There are plenty of lesser-known serums out there that have become complete game changers in my skincare routine. Since I have my own favorites, I decided it's about time to ask the rest of Who What Wear's beauty team about the underrated serums they swear by.

Read on to discover which hidden gems our beauty editors can't (and won't) stop using.

Maya Thomas, Assistant Editor



I could write an essay on how much I love Osea's Hyaluronic Sea Serum and still have energy to share so much more. I incorporated it into my skincare routine in summer 2020, as I was looking for ways to improve my skin's texture and add glow without having to depend on too many products. This serum does it all: smoothes the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles, restores moisture, and keeps my skin looking bright and healthy with a powerful blend of hyaluronic acid, seaweed, and snow mushroom. All of Osea's products have done amazing things for my skin, but this has to be my absolute favorite.

Erin Jahns, Beauty Director



"I would be obsessed with this barrier-protecting hydrating serum no matter its price, so the fact that it comes in under $20 is just the cherry on top. I recommend this to everyone who wants bouncy, healthy, and moisturized skin without sacrificing their paycheck. It contains a unique Tri-Ceramide Complex to help repair the skin barrier and restore healthy hydration levels, squalane to plump and stave off moisture loss, and glycerin, a cushy humectant, to lock in your skin's dew point and glow. You'll love it, trust me!"

"This serum is still relatively well-known, but the buzz pales in comparison to its sister serum, C E Ferulic. What I don't think many people realize is that SkinCeuticals actually makes three sibling C + ferulic serums, each suited to certain skin types/goals. And if you're like me and are acne-prone and/or oily, Silymarin CF is actually the one to be using. It's oil-free and the only vitamin C formula I've ever been able to use safely without running the risk of irritation or reciprocal breakouts. It has a strategic concoction of great ingredients, but as the name might suggest, silymarin (a powerful antioxidant that naturally inhibits the oxidation of sebum on top of the skin), is the true hero. I've been using this serum every morning since its launch a couple of years back, and my skin has never looked better."

Shawna Hudson, Associate Beauty Editor

"This is my absolute favorite Luzern serum besides the brand's Serum Absolut Firming Collagen Booster. The quick and very visible results I've seen when using this brand are truly remarkable. This one is loaded with plant-derived enzymes, vitamin C, alpha-arbutin, and bio-suisse extracts that promote a radiant, more even-toned complexion. It is a bit on the pricey side, so it's definitely a treat, but I can say with confidence that every Luzern formula is worth the extra dollars. This formula provides so many skincare benefits in one that you can honestly skip layering other serums. My skin has never looked better since I started using the brand."

Caitie Schlisserman, Beauty Director, Branded Content



"If you love dewy, glassy skin as much as I do, then you shouldn’t sleep on this serum. It instantly sinks into skin and provides unbeatable hydration. It’s just one of those serums that do the most for me: It helps fade dark spots thanks to 2% niacinamide, peptides help smooth wrinkles, and it nourishes skin and delivers antioxidants with cica and peach extract. It will give you the glassy skin of your dreams."

Kaitlyn McLintock, Associate Beauty Editor

"This serum is like green juice for your skin. It's packed with vitamins and antioxidants and hydrates better than most other hyaluronic acid serums I've tried. It even smells like green juice (which sounds weird but makes me feel super energized when I use it in the morning). As for the actual ingredients, it contains larch tree extract to speed up cell turnover and reduce hyperpigmentation and wrinkles, hyaluronic acid to plump and hydrate, and vitamins A, C, and E to firm the skin. I've been using it for a couple of months, and my skin is all the better for it."

Katie Berohn, Beauty Editor



"Sunday Riley's latest launch hasn't quite risen to the star status as some of the brand's other serums yet (think CEO and Good Genes), but I have a feeling it's going to explode soon. Recently, I've been struggling with cystic acne more than usual, which has left me with dark discoloration marks on my face. I credit this serum, which contains 10% niacinamide, with helping even out my skin tone and refine my complexion."

"I stopped using vitamin C for a while because I wasn't sure how much it was actually doing for me. (Spoiler: It actually does quite a bit.) To get back into a vitamin C groove, I started using this serum. It has a bouncy, almost cream-like texture that sinks in instantly and doesn't leave any residue at all. With 20% L-ascorbic acid, it's extremely potent, and my skin has never looked brighter."